The most Popular Posts of the past seven days.

Apr 12, 2021

Happy to Report

      I got the second of my two Moderna shots at Troy University today, holding the timer counting down the 15 minutes till it was safe for me to leave.


     Happy to report I had no side-effects (as of 10:30 pm anyway) and the injection itself was painless, though others said the needle was quite painful! 

     Still, I'll wait till later in the week to proclaim it a success!

EXCLUSIVE: The Impact on John Merrill Continues


 An official with the Republican Secretaries of State Committee Says John Merrill is no longer in a leadership role with that organization. Digital Director Annie Moore writes to me:

"He is no longer the chair of the Republican Secretaries of State Committee. Tennessee Secretary Tre Hargett has become the chair. Sec. Hargett has also replaced him as the co-chair of our Commission on Election Integrity."

     Merrill is married, but admitted having an inappropriate relationship with a female legal aid. He also announced he would not run for any state office next year following news of the illicit affair. He is term limited an could not run for another term as SOS.

Old Oak Hill Park

 Progress is being made on the first Montgomery Botanical Gardens in Oak Park.

I paid a visit and took some photos this afternoon, a beautiful Spring day! But there were few visitors visible. Oak park is one of the oldest parks in the city, and is downtown,

That means some of the trees are a century or older, and recent storms have pulled some of them of them down.


But overlooking that damage, there are now beautiful new plantings and benches in place, a credit to the volunteers who are transforming the old park.



Apr 11, 2021

Protesting attacks on Asians in the U.S.

 I didn't perceive Montgomery to have much of an Asian population when I moved here from Birmingham 20 years or so ago.

Then came Hyundai, opening their only U.S. plant in the city, and there has been growth ever since.

That's why I was not surprised there was a demonstration this afternoon protesting the growing number of attacks on Asian-Americans in the U.S., some of them egged on by the former president linking Covod19 to Asia, and his mocking pronunciations of Asian words and names.















 It was not a huge gathering, and I am not aware of any attacks in Montgomery, but those attending were making a point that it should stay that way.

States Ranked by ER Visits


Alabama is ranked 11th, according to the ranking published by Becker's Hospital Review.


Louisiana has the highest rate of emergency room visits in the U.S., according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation ranking.

These figures have changed since first published April 5. 

Kaiser Family Foundation analyzed data from the 1999-2019 American Hospital Association Annual Survey. The data include ER visits from community hospitals, which represent 85 percent of all hospitals in the U.S.

In 2019, the national ER visit rate was 437 per 1,000 population. Here's how each state and the District of Columbia stack up.

Note: The list includes ties, which results in a numerical listing of 44.

  1. Louisiana — 604
  2. Kentucky — 603
  3. District of Columbia — 593
  4. Ohio — 589
  5. West Virginia — 582
  6. Mississippi — 574
  7. Maine — 537
  8. New Hampshire — 524
  9. Arkansas — 516
  10. Vermont — 509
  11. Alabama — 508
  12. Indiana — 502
  13. Michigan — 500
  14. Rhode Island — 499
  15. Tennessee — 497
  16. Oklahoma — 492
  17. Delaware — 491
    Massachusetts — 491
  18. Pennsylvania — 483
  19. Connecticut — 477
    Missouri — 477
    Nebraska — 477
  20. Florida — 474
  21. South Carolina — 468
  22. Alaska — 451
    New York — 451
  23. Illinois — 444
  24. Georgia — 436
  25. Virginia — 425
  26. Montana — 424
    North Carolina — 424
  27. Texas — 422
  28. New Mexico — 418
    North Dakota — 418
  29. Iowa — 417
  30. Kansas — 411
  31. New Jersey — 409
  32. South Dakota — 407
  33. Wisconsin — 391
  34. Idaho — 386
    Wyoming — 386
  35. Washington — 384
  36. Oregon — 373
  37. Colorado — 366
  38. Maryland — 365
  39. Minnesota — 360
  40. Hawaii — 351
  41. California — 331
  42. Arizona — 330
  43. Nevada — 310
  44. Utah — 269

Editor's note: This article was updated Sunday, April 11 at 12:00 p.m. CST.


Apr 10, 2021

Mars Chopper Test Delayed


NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter unlocked its rotor blades, allowing them to spin freely, on April 7, 2021, the 47th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU.


     Based on data from the Ingenuity Mars helicopter that arrived late Friday night, NASA has chosen to reschedule the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s first experimental flight to no earlier than April 14.

"During a high-speed spin test of the rotors on Friday, the command sequence controlling the test ended early due to a “watchdog” timer expiration. This occurred as it was trying to transition the flight computer from ‘Pre-Flight’ to ‘Flight’ mode. The helicopter is safe and healthy and communicated its full telemetry set to Earth.

The watchdog timer oversees the command sequence and alerts the system to any potential issues. It helps the system stay safe by not proceeding if an issue is observed and worked as planned.

NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter is seen here in a close-up taken by Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras aboard the Perseverance rover. This image was taken on April 5, the 45th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.' Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

The helicopter team is reviewing telemetry to diagnose and understand the issue. Following that, they will reschedule the full-speed test."

Speaking of Vaccine Hesisitancy...


 "On April 8, more than 73,000 COVID-19 vaccine slots were open on Mississippi's scheduling website, up from 68,000 April 6", reports The New York Times.


"Only a quarter of all Mississippi residents have received at least one dose, compared to the national average of 33 percent, according to state data. Other Southern states, such as Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia, have similarly low rates of vaccination."

                                  Source: Becker's Hospital Review

     So perhaps some West Alabama residents can cross over to Mississippi and be vaccinated?

Yes (er, no thanks?) Sir!

      My military experience is limited.

     I joined the U.S. Army for a three- year term in the late 60's, rather than take a chance with the draft's two-year term. I reported for duty on my 19th birthday.

     There are certain parts of handing one's life over to the military that spans all of the armed services: wearing the designated uniform, doing the assigned work, and following regulations. Obedience, in other words.

     One memorable aspect of following orders had me rolling up my sleeves for a series of inoculations to protect me (and the military's investment in me). 

     I remember the assembly-line process involving  a kind of vaccine gun being used on recruit after recruit. (apparently called a "Automatic Jet Hypodermic Injection Apparatus)

     No one ever asked me if I wanted or did not want any particular shot (the current roster includes about a dozen, varying somewhat from one service to the other).

     Now CNN reports about one-third of the U.S. Marines are refusing the Covid19 vaccine shots.

As of Thursday, approximately 75,500 Marines have received vaccines, including fully vaccinated and partially vaccinated service men and women. About 48,000 Marines have chosen not to receive vaccines, for a declination rate of 38.9ps %.

     Why are the vaccines not mandatory?

     Since when does the military, especially the Marines, allow recruits to decide stuff? 

     Here's the kicker from another CNN report:

"A group of Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to President Joe Biden requesting that he issue a "waiver of informed consent" to make getting vaccinated against Covid-19 mandatory for all US military service members."

     Why are Republican lawmakers not pushing for the same, especially with no draft...all people in the military are there because they volunteered. Do they get to decide how many pushups they want to do as well?


Apr 8, 2021

The Newest Vehicle Being Assembled at the Montgomery Hyundai Plant?

 " is NOT a truck"

Watch the company video showing designers explaining that statement HERE.

Vietnam 1970-1971

 My service in Vietnam ended fifty years ago today, April 8, 1971.

      I arrived in Vietnam just short of my 20th Birthday and was assigned to a Public Information office in Quang Tri, a South Vietnamese city just a few miles from the DMZ.

     Halfway through my one year tour, an opening came up for an anchor at the Armed Forces Vietnam Network (AFVN) Detachment 5 Radio/TV station, and I was transfered to that unit, also in Quang Tri.

While my 5th Division PIO position included assignments outside the main U.S. Military base in Quang Tri, I was fairly stationary the rest of my tour, which ended a little under a year because the Nixon White House was trying to reduce forces.


     My family didn't know about the early end to my tour, and a gathering had been planned to celebrate my Mothers birthday at my sister's house in New York. With the help of my best friend Steve, I flew home and showed up on my sister's door a few hours before the surprise party. I stayed hidden upstairs until after my parent's arrived and just walked downstairs into the party. 

It was a very emotional moment.

Merrill NOT running for any office in '22.

 "I have been presented with a variety of options for where my path in public service could lead. After much prayer, reflection, and conversations with my wife, Cindy, I have decided that I will not be a candidate for any office in 2022."

                  Republican Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill

       Lots more to this story. AL.COM has details of the affair Merrill admits having, adding weight to his comment about "conversations with my wife Cindy". I'll bet.

      And all of that time he had a self-installed holier than thou halo around him.

Crash & Burn. 

     He's actually the second Republican Alabama Secretary of State to do so.

    Remember Beth Chapman? 

     She held the position between 2007 and 2013 when she resigned suddenly, seventeen months before her term expired. Her resignation came just weeks after I reported on Alabama News Network that she was not spending full-time on the job in Montgomery, and some staffers had to drive halfway to Birmingham where she lived to meet her to sign papers.

  •      Will voters put another Republican in the SOS office next year?    

  •      Will the national Republican SOS Association drop Merrill from his position as Chair of The Republican Secretaries of State Executive Committee?

Apr 7, 2021

The Little Chopper That (May?)


Looks like first test flight of the little chopper on Mars will be on Sunday 4-11-21

Reminder: Kay Ivey's Confederate Icon Protection-Act Remains In Force


Propaganda Art?

      From an excellent Slate article comparing Post U.S. Civil War Confederate Memorials and Post WWII Nazi Memorials.


Susan Neiman, director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam, Germany, and author of Learning From the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil, argues that the U.S. could learn something important from the way Germans have confronted their past. A born-and-raised American Southerner, Neiman notes that Germany has no nostalgic Nazi memorials. “Germany has no monuments that celebrate the Nazi armed forces, however many grandfathers fought or fell for them. … The idea that tourists would visit [Buchenwald] seeking smiling women in dirndls—much as some visit American plantations looking for ladies in hoop skirts—is obscene.”

Apr 6, 2021

"Son of The South" now out on DVD

 You can buy it (or rent it) at Amazon for $14 or on Blue-ray for a buck more.

     Most of this film was shot in Montgomery, and I had a short but rewarding part in it as a reporter. It's fun watch for area folks to reognize places in town where the filming down at the real-life site where a bus of protestors trying to desegregate bus stations in the South were attacked at the Greyhound station downtown in 1961. 

Police looked the other way.

That building, behind the bus in this photo, is now The Freedom Rides Museum.


Finally: A SmartMask has teamed up with Honeywell to make and sell the so-far ultimate face mask for these Covid times. 

The N.Y. Times story reports you can own one. 

For $299 in the Xupermask, a project by the musician in partnership with Honeywell.